How Each Side Sees The Other Side [Native views and Anglo business views]

Note by Hunter Bear: [at]

It's almost always tough to be an Indian in the City -- where economic
privation and interpersonal alienation can be rough and such Anglo values as cut throat competition and conflict frequently clash directly with the basic Native cultural ethos of communalism, cooperation and service to one's Indian community.  As long as there have been essentially Anglo cities in the Hemisphere, some Natives have been entering them -- almost always for primarily economic reasons.  But in the early and mid '50s, the Federal government launched its general, reactionary attack on the pretty much excellent FDR/John Collier Indian New Deal. [The Feds and a great many corporations sought to end Federal Indian services and steal remaining Indian land and resources -- goals that are far from abandoned though they have become more subtle.]

They launched treaty-breaking efforts under the label "Termination," delegated much Federal jurisdiction to some states under Public Law 280 -- and, using a stick and carrot [economic poverty on the reservations and empty promises] approach in "Urban Relocation," maneuvered many, many tens of thousands of Natives into the cities where they were dumped into poverty minus Federal Indian services.  Most tribes resisted the hideous "Termination" and that policy was ended in the JFK administration [but justice to those tribes so affected has been very slow and paltry].  PL280 was primarily "contained" by Natives and their allies [and is being very slowly reversed on a piece-meal basis where it did occur]. And Urban Relocation formally ended a generation ago.  But, given the still frequently poor economic situation on the reservations, many Indians continue to come into the cities and the "urban Indian" population in the 'States [and Canada] is extremely large.  And, as I say, it is tangibly and psychologically tough for Native people in those settings.

Most Natives in the City [whichever city is involved] have stayed pretty
concentrated in a fairly specific geographical area therein, long ago
developed urban Indian Centers and urban activist programs, and -- staunchly resisting assimilation -- have successfully maintained their primary commitment to tribal and ethnic identity.

At the beginning of the '70s, Chicago had a growing Native population of
about 25,000 with 100 tribes represented.  A number of us, with backing from several major church denominations and liberal foundations, launched the successful all-Indian Native American Community Organizational Training Center -- of which I was privileged to serve as Chair for a number of years [I lived at Chicago and then at nearby Iowa City, eventually moving to Upstate New York.]  It trained many Natives from an activist perspective. See

Once, at our Center, eight Anglo business leaders met our trainees [who were from various tribal nations]  -- and everyone discussed stereotypes.  This list emerged [serving as the basis for a long article which I wrote and
which appeared in Integrated Education [U Mass] July, 1981, a journal which had, among its editors, Sioux activist and writer, Vine Deloria, Jr.]  In my long piece, I agreed in detail with my Native brothers and sisters and took sharp issue with the Anglo business views which are, of course, shared by some segments [not all] of the general Euro-American population.  The
article was subsequently widely used, including by a great many church
activists including Jesuits.]

"How Each Side Sees The Other Side"

 Some Anglo business stereotypes of Native Americans:

1] Lazy -- not motivated to work
2] Savage or wild
3] Get drunk quickly or drink a lot
4] Lack sense of humor
5] Soft spoken or quiet
6] Have no money sense
7] Make little effort to get an education
8] Close to nature all the time
9] Adhere to "Indian time"
10] Most of the work they can do is associated with handicrafts
11] Want their land back
12] Wallow or live in the past
13] Always asking for handouts
14] Feel world owes them a living
15] Ostracize themselves by failing to blend into society
16] Lack of unity and tribal factionalism
17] Worship pagans

Some Native stereotypes of Anglo-Americans:

1] Not trustworthy or back-stabbing
2] Speak with forked tongue
3] Materialistic and money hungry
4] Greedy -- don't share with fellow man
5] Competition or power hungry
6] Evasive
7] Business oriented/selfish, self-centered
8] Narrow minded and prejudiced
9] Live by time clock
10] No respect for fellow man
11] Manipulate nature/have no respect for nature
12] Want others, especially minorities, to conform to their ideals
13] Fail to show equality in court
14] Hypocrisy in Christianity

As I say, I agree with my Native brothers and sisters -- and dispute the
Anglo business views.

Fraternally and In Solidarity -

Hunter Bear [formerly John R Salter Jr]

HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR]   Micmac /St. Francis Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear]